No matter what you think about standardized testing, the reality is that it likely isn't going away soon. Personally, I believe there is a benefit to standardized testing, but I don't like how the data generated from such tests are being used. There are several pros and cons of standardized testing. In researching for this article, I can tell that the cons far outweigh the pros.
I believe that standardized testing could be utilized better. Why not give a standardized pretest at the beginning of the year and then again at the end of the year? This would allow teachers to see where their students are and where they need to take them. The real benefit would be that you could accurately measure improvement over the course of the year. This in my opinion is much more important than the current practice of simply looking at proficient vs. not proficient.